Truck driver error is a major factor in a significant number of truck accidents in and around the Houston area. Speeding, drinking, getting distracted, falling asleep behind the wheel – these are all among the top causes of dangerous trucking collisions that our Houston truck accident lawyers see not only in Texas but around the country.
However, truck driver error is far from the only factor that leads to jackknifes, underrides, rear-end collisions and other dangerous accidents. Another common factor that is involved in many trucking collisions is dangerously-loaded cargo.
Dangerous Cargo Loads
Proper cargo loading on 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, and other large commercial trucks involves more than just loading up the cargo and strapping it down. Everything from overall weight to weight distribution and shifting during transport can factor into an improperly-loaded truck causing a collision. For example, some common cargo-related issues that can lead to trucking accidents include:
- Overloading – Commercial trucks and trailers are limited in their capacity. In other words, they cannot carry unlimited amounts of cargo. When an 18-wheeler or tractor trailer is loaded with too much weight, it becomes harder to control, more difficult to stop and more likely to cause a collision.
- Improperly-Secured Cargo – Even when trucks are not overloaded, their cargo must be safely secured. One of the most obvious risks with improperly-secured cargo is the risk that the cargo will fall off of the truck (i.e. a vehicle or piece of equipment rolling off of the back of a flatbed). However, there are other risks as well. For example, improperly-secured cargo can also shift during transport, limiting the driver’s ability to maintain control under emergency conditions.
- Uneven Weight Distribution – Even when properly secured, truck cargo must also be evenly distributed. Placing too much weight on one side of the truck can lead to jackknifes and rollovers while placing too much weight at the front or rear can affect traction and braking ability.
- Lack of Pressurization – Certain types of tanker trucks must be pressurized in order to prevent their contents from shifting or sloshing during transit. An unpressurized tanker can behave similarly to a tractor-trailer with improperly-secured cargo.
Who Is Liable When a Dangerously-Loaded Truck Causes an Accident?
When a truck loading error causes an accident, who is to blame? There is no single answer, and determining liability in any accident requires a prompt and thorough investigation. If the container was improperly packed, the shipping company may be to blame. If the tie-downs on a flatbed were insecure, the trucking company could be liable. If the driver could have helped prevent the accident with proper driving, the driver could also be partially at fault. Or, there could even be other companies or individuals that share in the responsibility as well.
Schedule a Free Truck Accident Consultation at Morrow & Sheppard LLP
If you have been seriously injured or a loved one has been killed in a truck accident, we invite you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights. A good truck accident lawyer is experienced in taking on the trucking companies and other major corporations, and Morrow & Sheppard LLP will fight aggressively to win the compensation you deserve. To find out who is responsible for your losses, call our Houston, TX law offices at (713) 489-1206 or request your free consultation online today.